School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

 25 November 2013


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News from the Head of School

Movember – last chances to give

The CS@MCR Movember team have raised £805 so far, which is a great achievement but still £450 short of last year’s total. November ends on Saturday, if the team doesn’t meet the target by then, they might have to stay unshaved until next year, so please help them out...

There are 32 fabulous Mos you can sponsor individually, or just support the team at 

Conference Success!

Keletso Joel Letsholo, Liping Zhao and Erol-Valeriu Chioasca won Best Student Tool Demonstration Award at 28th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (Palo Alto, California, November 11-15,

2013) for their tool:  “TRAM: A Tool for Transforming Textual Requirements into Analysis Models". The winners were selected by a vote of all conference participants. Congratulations to Joel and Erol!


Facebook session for students

Facebook recruiters were in LT.1 and the Lower First on Wednesday 20th NOvember, hosted by the Coding Dojo group.  Gabriel Suciu, Marius Popescu, and Miso Zmiric organised an hour of recruitment information, quizzes, and general opportunities to hear about how to get inside the Facebook machine. Many of our students attended and had a great session learning what’s needed for success.


The biggest message from Facebook themselves?  They've had several great interns and employees from Manchester over the past few years and recognize that this is a great place!

Computer Science Green Impact Team

This is a second call for staff in Computer Science who would like to get involved in a Computer Science Green Impact Team.


The Green Impact Scheme is a nationwide scheme which is supported by the University, and is a mechanism for establishing a more sustainable work-place. Within the University there are a number of teams, based around Schools, Divisions, or in some cases buildings. The team works through simple criteria in a series of workbooks from Bronze to Gold, covering areas including energy usage, waste & recycling, travel and procurement. More information on the Green Impact scheme can be found here.


As a new team this year, the Computer Science Green Impact team would be working towards the Bronze award. If you are interested in getting involved, whether you are PSS, academic or research staff, please:

·         Register to access the Green Impact Workbook for our team

·         Complete this Doodle poll  to indicate your availability for an initial meeting. We are currently looking at dates in late November / early December – so please be quick!


Your involvement can be as much or as little of your time as you are able to give. The Green Impact Team would meet two or three times per year to set objectives and assess progress; we will decide at the initial meeting how we will allocate tasks and what our priorities will be.

Any questions, contact Cassie Barlow.


Announcements and news

Queen’s Anniversary Prize


A message from the President:

I am delighted to inform you that we have been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in its tenth round (2012-14) for our work in imaging techniques to support advanced materials and manufacturing.  The award, titled by the Queen’s Trust as ‘New Techniques in X-Ray Imaging of Materials Critical for Power, Transport and Other Key Industries', will be announced this evening at St James’ Palace.


The award is a great honour, highlighting the excellent work carried out by all our staff. 


This makes it ‘2-in-a-row’ for the Faculty following our previous success for Civil Nuclear where we were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize (2010-12).


The actual award ceremony will be in February 2014 at Buckingham Palace.


Once again this award, like other awards, highlights the excellent achievements of the all the staff at the University.

iGEM Competition, 2014                                                   13 Dec contact deadline

For: academic staff, research staff and PhD students

From: Eriko Takano


Following on from the success at this year's World Championship, we will be putting together another MIB-based iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team for the 2014 competition.


We are looking for team members across all scientific disciplines (humanities, economy etc. are also very welcome).


They need to send me their CV with their course details. Please see PDF for details.


I am also looking for supervisors, so if you would like to be involved next spring/summer, please let me know. It's hard work, but also very rewarding.

Eriko Takano

EPSRC Science Photo Competition 2013                                              16 Dec 13

Win £500 worth of camera/photography equipment with the EPSRC Science Photo Competition. The competition is open to all EPSRC supported researchers and PhD students to share their Research in Action using images. 

Closing date: 16 Dec 2013

Royal Society – award and medal nominations                                31 Jan 2014

The Royal Society Medals and Awards 2014 call for nominations is open soon. The Milner Award is awarded for outstanding achievement in CS and there are lots of other categories available too, from interdisciplinary research to public engagement.

If you plan to nominate a member of the School please contact Robert Stevens beforehand with brief details (a paragraph).

Closing date: 31 Jan 2014



Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Lunchtime Series                                 How to reduce plagiarism among students without actually saying the P word 25 Nov 13

12-14:00, C24, Sackville Street building

Prof. David M. Schultz

School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester

 “Sources on helping students avoid plagiarism generally take one of three approaches.

1.  Assume that students know enough not to copy text directly from sources in the first place, and emphasize disciplinary action.

2.  Take a given piece of text and make enough changes that it doesn't look like the source anymore.

3.  Provide guidance about "direct quotations", "common knowledge", and "referencing".


None of these three approaches seemed to make a difference in reducing plagiarism in 1–2-page essays written by first-year students in our School.  So, we tried a different approach…In this seminar, I will present our approaches and our remarkable results.  I would then like to hear from others who have found ways to use the carrot rather than the stick in addressing critical thinking skills among students.

Please book your place through Lynn Davies

A light lunch will be provided

Advanced Metallic Systems CDT Seminar                                             26 Nov 13

14:00, E23, The Mill.

Asset Integrity - The biggest engineering discipline you’ve never heard of!

Dr. Phil Horrocks, Asset Integrity Manager from Centrica.

All are welcome and light refreshments will be provided afterwards.

Materials Performance Centre-hosted Dalton Nuclear Seminar       26 Nov 13

15:30, D14 Lecture Theatre, Materials Science Centre.

Dr. Elisabeth Francis will be giving a presentation on ‘TEM Analysis of Zirconium Alloys Using the “ChemiSTEM” Titan’.


All are welcome.  Light refreshments will be provided afterwards.

Support for Fellowship applications                                                        26 Nov 13

10-13:00, Renold Building F1.

A training and development course is available for Applying for Fellowships, as well as tips and thinking points on applying for Fellowships. Plug in your headphones to hear professors share their know-how:

Talk - GPU implementations of fluid dynamics simulations on regular meshes                                                                                                                           26 Nov 13

14-15:00, Room B8, George Begg


Dr Christian Obrecht (University of Lyon) is talking as part of the MACE/GPU Club on 'GPU implementations of fluid dynamics simulations on regular meshes'. All are welcome.

More information

Another Manchester computer pioneer: Desmond Henry                   4 Dec 13

14:00, Lecture Theatre 1.4, Kilburn building

Elaine O'Hanrahan.

Seminar page

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Lunchtime series

mbclick and Effective Student Feedback                                                  5 Dec 13

12-14:00, G13.D, Sackville Street building

Geoff Rubner

School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering


"For students, feedback is one of the most important, and complained-about, issues for them.  Often you hear that it’s either given too late, or it’s not given frequently enough, or it’s not detailed enough, and so forth.  With mbclick you can liven up your lectures by introducing some interaction, and give students the feedback they want and need!

There will be a demonstration with an interactive session, so bring your mobile phone, tablet, laptop, notebook, etc!  The system accepts SMS so you don't even need a smartphone.

Please book your place through Lynn Davies

A light lunch will be provided

Invitation to launch of the Manchester informatics big data community

                                                                                                    9 December 13, all day

Chancellors Conference Centre

The Big Data Community aims to bring together the University's strengths in a wide variety of Big Data research (including open data and linked data) across all faculties to:

         Promote interdisciplinary collaboration in all forms of data research

         Improve the University's responses to funding calls in Big Data

         Help raise Manchester’s profile as a leading centre for Big Data research


Our first event, 'Building the Big Data Community at Manchester,' will seek to map out the landscape of Big Data research taking place across the university, work towards building interdisciplinary relationships and begin to showcase our strengths to external organisations.


The day will be facilitated by the Computer Science Team involved in RETHINK:Big, an EU funded initiative which is writing the Big Data Roadmap for Europe. Manchester is the only UK university involved in RETHINK:Big and as part of the event the team will be seeking to engage a wider community from the university in feeding into the Roadmap.

More information and registration

EC ICT Information and Networking Event                                       15-16 Jan 14

EC Conference Centre, Luxembourg Kirchberg


Following on from the great success of the Europe's biggest digital technology event (Vilnius), Information and Networking days, organised by the Unit Data Value Chain, will take place on 15-16 Jan 2014. The event aims to inform and guide prospective proposers preparing project proposals, to facilitate sharing of ideas and experiences. It will give participants the chance to network, to find partners for their projects and get feedback on proposal ideas from officials of the European Commission.


Focus will be on the following objectives included in the Horizon

2020 work programme 2014-2015 (N.B. linked docs are drafts):


·         ICT 15 – 2014 Big data Innovation and take-up

·         ICT 16 – 2015 Big data-research (overview only)

·         ICT 17 – 2014 Cracking the language barrier

·         ICT 22.a – 2014 Multimodal and Natural computer interaction


More information on the agenda and the registration possibilities will be available soon here.


Funding Opportunities

Research Support Office

Please contact us through

There is information about support for grant writing and submission at

Reminder - H2020 drafts available

EU funding-related documents are placed by the University's EU team at:
The easiest way to find these documents is to search using the keyword: 'Horizon 2020'

A great resource recommended by the ICT National Contact Point is, which also provides handy overview documents.

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship                                          13 Jan 14

The Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship is for early stage career researchers (up to 6 years since PhD) who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting, caring responsibilities or health issues. Female candidates are particularly invited to apply.

Closing date: 13 Jan 2014

Leverhulme-Royal Society Africa Award                                                 15 Jan 14

Do you have links that you would like to develop with research institutions in either Ghana or Tanzania? 3-year collaborative research funding of up to £60k per year is available through the Leverhulme-Royal Society Africa Award, including up to £10k per year for a PhD Student Bursary.

Closing date: 15 Jan 2014


Research Professional is a useful search engine for finding other funding opportunities.


Featured Research Outcomes

Congratulations to all those involved in the following successful awards!

Synchronized Attention Grant (SAG)

Simon Harper, Caroline Jay, Andy Brown (with the BBC and Manchester Informatics)

Funding body: EPSRC IAA Exploitation Secondment

Award amount: £100.3k (EPSRC + BBC)


This project follows on from the KTA Concept and Feasibility Study and the IAA Relationship Incubator with the BBC, which looked at transferring our models of user attention (eye trackers) to model the split of attention on a TV screen. Recent work has focused on mapping the DUV model to additional content (e.g. subtitles, news tickers) and strengthening the metrics needed to drive attention prediction.


Now, RA Andy Brown will be seconded to the BBC to develop software crucial for next-generation television broadcasting. We will equip the BBC – and ultimately other broadcasters – with the means to optimally time the provision of content to ‘second screens’ (tablets & mobile devices), so that television can move from the current model of a main screen supplemented with occasional viewer-led mobile use, to an engaging, fully integrated dual screen experience.


Our long-term technical objective is to produce a software application that will assist program providers and broadcasters in deciding when to apply additional content to a personal mobile device and details how attention will be synchronized between these devices. Pilot studies will aim to identify a suitable methodology to synchronize unified content between multiple devices.


Smallbone K, Mendes P (2013) Large-scale metabolic models: from
reconstruction to differential equations. Industrial Biotechnology 9


Swainston N, Mendes P, Kell DB (2013) An analysis of a
‘community-driven’ reconstruction of the human metabolic network.
Metabolomics 9 ,757-764


Smallbone K, Messiha HL, Carroll KM, Winder CL, Malys N, Dunn WB,
Murabito E, Swainston N, Dada JO, Khan F, Pir P, Simeonidis E, Spasić I,
Wishart J, Weichart D, Hayes NW, Jameson D, Broomhead DS, Oliver SG,
Gaskell SJ, McCarthy JEG, Paton NW, Westerhoff HV, Kell DB, Mendes P
(2013) A model of yeast glycolysis based on a consistent kinetic
characterization of all its enzymes. FEBS Letters 587:2832–41


Sha W, Martins AM, Laubenbacher R, Mendes P, Shulaev V (2013) The
genome-wide early temporal response of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to
oxidative stress induced by cumene hydroperoxide. PLOS One 8: e74939


Mensonides FIC, Bakker BM, Cremazy F, Messiha HL , Mendes P, Boogerd FC,
Westerhoff HV (2013) A new regulatory principle for in vivo
biochemistry: pleiotropic low affinity regulation by the adenine
nucleotides – illustrated for the glycolytic enzymes of Saccharomyces
cerevisiae. FEBS Letters 587: 2860-7.



Have we missed something? If you have some award news that you would like us to know about please contact Sarah Chatwin.